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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Not much happening here

Well, it's surgery day and that's about all that has happened today. Of course there was some cleaning and taking care of the usual chores. We did however get in a few dogs today that I'm sure we will be working a lot with in the very new future.

The two dogs that came into the shelter are the kind that you hate to see the most. One is a return that was adopted out last year. It turns out that one of the family members that owned the dog became very ill and are no longer able to care for her. It's sad in so many ways I can't even put it into words. It is almost ironic though that the day after Jr. gets adopted this one comes in. I think she is the female version of our recently adopted lab. Not only does she look like him she has the same dog reactive behaviors that he had as well. I know that in the future we will be spending a lot of time with her to get her acclimated to the shelter and of course do all that we can to make her more adoptable. Here is a picture of Lilly, or as I like to call her Juniorette.

Along with the return we also got in a new ASP dog. On top of a difficult situation for the dog it seems this one might be pretty hard on us as well. The dog is an unaltered male pit-bull that seems to have some problems with men. He seemed fine when he was brought in but the stress of the shelter seems to be having its toll on him. When I approached his kennel I never made eye contact but when I got within five feet or so he snarled and attacked the fence. I won't lie, my cheeks puckered up a little. Hopefully he will calm down in the next few days because having this animal at the shelter is not necessarily a safe thing for the staff.

Of course I did mention it was surgery day so you know I had to include a picture of one of our guys after being treated. The picture below is Bogey, one of my favorite dogs that might have Lupus. He went under so our medical staff could take a nose biopsy. As you can see they made sure he was very comfortable afterwards with his blanket and pillow. I just hope that we find out what's wrong with him so we can get this sweet guy adopted.

That's about it today. I do want to end on a good note that one of our cats got adopted. It was news to me but I always like ending on a good note. Thanks as always for reading everyone and know that each and everyone out there can do their part to help those that can't help themselves.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Finding things to do, with a few surprises in store

I always like being the first one at the shelter in the morning. It usually means I get first pick of what I want to clean, but today was a little different. Being the first person there I was the first person to notice a small crate waiting by the door. There was a small note attached that said "I am spayed, I have lived with other cats but prefer to be alone, and I love to have my nose rubbed". Now it's obvious to me that the original owners of this cat had tried relinquishing since they pretty much knew exactly what we needed to know. My question is what was their reasoning for stuffing it in a tiny little kennel with food scattered throughout then dropping it off at the shelter. The two possible answers are they couldn't afford the 60 dollar fee that goes along with relinquishing an animal or that we have such a long waiting list to actually bring in cats right now. In any case I am trying not to be angry at these people because I'm sure they have their reasonings and this was better than just letting their cat run wild where it ran the real risk of getting killed. I just wish that people realize the budget that our shelter runs on and how much it actually costs us to intake and care for these animals. I do have to keep reminding myself that I am not a people hater, we all have our reasonings for the actions that we do.

After getting the cat some wet food and setting it up in a larger area it was time to clean. Luckily I was able to sign up for an area that was a little less pooped on then the rest and got it all done before ten o'clock. It's amazing when I think about how recently we had so many dogs and now with so many adoptions lately how few there are. I just wish we could get some more cats adopted. I actually learned today that there have only been two for the entire month of August which is quite disheartening.

Once all of the cleaning was done and the necessities out of the way it was time to start finding things to do. It's nice when you're fully staffed because you can actually get ahead and actually spend some time with the animals. The funny part is, when you think that there is nothing to do there always is. Aside from the normal disinfecting crates we also had some ISO yards that needed cleaning today as well. Once we got all of that done I decided to clean off all of the nice pee stained corners on the way down to the yards. I am amazed still at the aroma of urine that continually emulates from the shelter. No matter what I do it will always be there, kind of funny when you think that I even try to get rid of it.

While cleaning I got a call to help out with a DB. Not my favorite thing to do but because I am the only guy here I typically get recruited to help out. I went to the back of the car to learn, because she wasn't covered, that the dog was a brindle greyhound that looks very similar to my dog. It's always hard trying to console people when they looser their pet because it is like loosing a family member. This time was more difficult than usual because all I could picture was my dog. I think I ended up just saying sorry for your loss then closing my eyes until we could get the girl covered and placed into our deep freezer. I'm crossing my fingers I don't have nightmares tonight.

I really can't believe that I did not have one showing today. I did catch wind that Jr., our resident old timer, was getting adopted. This was great news and everyone is glad to see him find a new home. It's funny too is that he was sent to the groomers today to try to make him more adoptable. It's even funnier that he was still there when he got adopted!

Everyday that I work here at the shelter I am always experiencing something new. Now I'm not saying that I enjoy everything because there are those new experiences that can just make you feel like crap, but in general there is always something that can still put a smile on your face, like Jr. getting adopted. The more I work here the more I understand that you really can't help them all but you can certainly educate as many people as possible to join the cause of getting these wonderful animals adopted. I look forward to your comments and thanks for reading everyone.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Funny how time can fly by and stand still all in one day

Early on in my day it's pretty typical that the first four hours are usually gone before I even realize it. Today was the same with the reasoning that there is always a lot of animals that need attending, not to mention cleaning. Of course I try not to bore you with the details but in reality it's usually pretty boring.

I started with the south side dogs which were actually pretty clean. There were a few kennels that needed disinfecting because the dogs had ether been adopted or were being moved to more appropriate areas of the shelter. By appropriate I mean ether more space or less contact with other dogs for those residents that like to fence fight. I ended up getting all of the dogs back in by about 10:30 with a little help from some volunteers and since we were short handed once again I headed over to the rabbitat. Luckily no allergic reactions today and I was able to get it all done in a reasonable amount of time. I thought we were ahead of schedule but it had slipped my mind that there was a rabbit in ISO that needed to get cleaned up. Before I knew it the doors were already open and the kennel staff was getting calls over the loud speaker since none of us had radios yet.

I had a few showings today but only one really stood out. It was with our girl Lucy the pit mix puppy. I hate being a pessimist but whenever I go into one of these showings I really do speak up about the negative behaviors that this animal has. Particularly her lack of bite control. I hate to do it because I really do just want her to get out of here but you have to let people know how serious it is and how much work she is going to need. In reality though I think the showing was just a mother that brought in her two daughters and their three friends to play with a puppy. In the end the family was very nice and you can never assume that they were here just to hang out but if they do adopt at least they know how much attention, effort, and patience this dog is going to need.

After this showing the rest of the day just dragged on and on. Luckily there were some animals that needed hanging out with. I spent some time with our animal safe house dog who should be going home soon as well as some of my favorite cats in the cattery. While with the cats I realized that they all had some swelling along with some missing fur. It turns out that my three favorite cats that live together all have food allergies and are on a strict diet of duck and pea food. There are signs posted everywhere for no treats ect. but somehow they must have all snuck one in. The poor things looked horrible but our vet staff is taking care of it and they should be back to normal soon. Here is a picture of one of them.

That's about it for today. Pretty uneventful on my end but there was a dog named Duke who had been in the shelter for some time that got adopted. Not sure of the family but it was good to see the little guy go home. I'm also glad he is out of here because he was one of the peeing leap frog players that literally pees ten times on every corner when you take him down to the yards. In any case, he has found his forever home and that's what makes this day a good one. Thanks for reading and don't forget to follow Tails from an Animal Shelter on google and facebook.

Monday, August 24, 2009

So many adoptions it's tough to keep track of!


I really do love coming back from a few days off to learn that there are so many adoptions I have a tough time remembering who was actually here. You think that it would be a lot easier but with such a large group of new dogs that became available this past week they weren't in the shelter long enough to really get to know them. In addition to a lot of new dogs getting adopted, Kelly, our resident senior citizen that has ether been on medical hold or foster since March finally found their forever home. This was the big one that really stood out to me but also my good friend Tater who was returned last week was also adopted within thirty minutes of becoming available.

With all of the big adoptions I almost forgot the seven or so other adoptions that took place including my good pal Mr. Burns. The family that adopted him pretty much knew he was the one after spending a short five minutes with him. The other dogs that were adopted were part of the new batch from our second chance dogs as well as a few relinquishments. Whatever it was we were all happy to see so many dogs find their forever homes. Not sure if it's the economy getting better but for some reason this past week the adoptions came in waves.

On to today. I like being able to keep on my tennis shoes on Sundays, means that I am typically not using the hose which is fine with me. It does mean that I am cleaning the cats though. Usually it's pretty easy but boy does it stink when a cat does his business and you are in the room, especially when two cats do it! Luckily we are fully staffed and it wasn't a problem getting everything taken care of before eleven and the doors opened. Especially when there are already people lined up to come in.

I found out that yet another group of relinquished dogs that came in this past week were available today. There were some toy pure breeds along with a one year old Golden Retriever which was good reasoning for a line. It's always nice when you start out with so many showings. Sometimes it seems contagious in the shelter and five showings turn in to twenty.

Honestly I don't think that I can recount every showing but I do remember a few. My first was with a young married couple who wanted to see the little Yorkie that just became available. Unfortunately they were I think third in line and I had to explain that we are a first come first serve shelter. They were completely understanding and decided to look around at a few other dogs. They found another one that just became available named Peanut. She is a, surprise surprise, seven month old chihuahua mix. They absolutely loved her personality but wanted to go home and think about the big decision. Of course I saw them come in later on in the day and they decided to adopt. Nice to see a good dog go to a good home.

My next showing was with a cat and a father with his two sons. He had been in the shelter before looking for cats but felt it wasn't the right fit. It seems that they have a cat friendly dog at home so there is a limited amount of animals to choose from. Luckily we had three that could be a good fit for him. I showed him all of the animals, went back to the office, and learned of one more possible fit. It turns out it was a new cat to the shelter named Kingston. What a great temperament this little guy had and the family agreed. Of course mom had to come and meet and sure enough within the hour she was back with her checkbook and they decided to adopt.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful for me. There were a few more adoptions and of course the busy work of keeping the shelter running. I did however learn that very close to closing another of our long termers Cheyenne was getting adopted. She was a relinquishment about three months ago and has not had an easy life. If you want to talk about going home with a smile on your face this certainly did it for me. Great end to a great day of adoptions.

In closing I have found that when it rains at the shelter it usually pours. It can be a bad thing at times but this week it was certainly a good thing. I'm not sure if I have ever seen a week like this before weather I was volunteering here or working. Anyways, it is a week I will not soon forget and I will always be thankful for having so many great animals adopted. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, the picture up top is a new "kitten". Really he is like four or five months old but he is still very young. He is a little temperamental but once he gets to know you he is an awesome animal. I was asked to name him on the fly during intake so the only thing I could come up with was Don. It ended up being Donald which I was fine with. Gotta love a cat named after a great man that doesn't even like them :) Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments everyone.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Had to make sure I got there first

The day after a large group of dogs arrive it is always smart if you are cleaning dogs to get there early. Reason being, you typically don't want to have the job of cleaning up after them. Today was no exception. Luckily I was able to sign up for the south side dogs first because when I actually had a look, and a smell, at the new dogs it literally made my stomach turn. It has been a while since I have seen five kennels all "painted" by the dogs that inhabit them. The scary part is, all of these dogs are tiny and I am amazed at how much they could put out in one night. I think we might need to check for giardia after seeing this.

Once my stomach had settled down I headed over to south to get all of the dogs out. Too bad I can't handle those sick ones, don't want to cross contaminate you know. Amazingly the area I was cleaning was in pretty good shape and I was able to get everything done in a respectable amount of time. I was even able to help out in the rabbitat when I was done as well as collect the garbage from the cattery. I hadn't really noticed but a large group of the staff was focusing on the cattery since its biggest donor was coming in for a tour. Not sure if you know but the cattery was completely rebuilt through private donations and the state of the art building with separate air control systems was not cheap from what I hear. Needless to say there were a few of the kennel attendants making sure the building was presentable.

On with the day. With so many staff members, since we actually have a new one that shows up, I have found more and more time to spend with the animals. In addition to that I have found the time to make sure that everything in the shelter is in order. Typically when you are short handed you let things go that don't necessarily need your immediate attention. But now that we have the time we can focus on the details.

Later I got called to a showing with our girl Beatrice. Right now she is the one that we would like to see get out of here the most so we were all eager to read the adoption profile. Everything looked good until I saw that the potential adopted already has a three year old female cattle dog at home. The problem with this is we typically don't send home a female to a female home. The issues that can arise are numerous but the main one is if there is physical altercation it typically will snow ball and end up very bad. The adopter was understanding and we decided to go back to the kennels to see if there might be a better fit. He absolutely fell in love with the puppy Spencer who will be available this Thursday. Hopefully he comes back because we always like to see our animals go home as quickly as possible.

I finally got to go to lunch and that was when I heard the new that our Mississippi friend Tater who was adopted a few months back was being returned. It was completely bitter sweet because the stress that this animal is going through coming back to the shelter has to be unimaginable. The good part is I get to spend some more time with him. My fiance and I had actually planned on fostering the little guy and when I went to pick him up he was actually getting adopted right at that moment. Once you see him you will understand though that no matter what happens, he will not be here long. His temperament is amazing and you rarely find as happy of a dog as Tater.

No adoptions today but there were some potentials that could pan out later in the week. There was however a new relinquishment of a four day old kitten that was found in bushes at a person house. I really don't think I have seen a cat this young but man was she cute. Hopefully we can keep her health up and put some weight on her because it is very tough to raise such a young kitten on their own. I'll keep you all posted on the situation.

One more thing, I had mentioned that there was to be a showing with our foster coon hound Liza. Well it turns out that the potential adopters weren't that perfect fit so there ended up not even being a showing. I understand finding the perfect home for animals and the perfect animals for homes is part of our mission, but I think that all options need to be looked at in our girl's situation. Hopefully soon we can figure out how to get her in her forever home, even though I know she is one happy dog at her foster mom's house. Thanks Anne for all your help!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And then there were more

Typical morning of taking all of the dogs down to their yards and for the next two hours or so a whole lot of scrubbing, getting my pants and shoes wet, and bringing the dogs back up for their breakfast. This is a typical morning with pretty typical results. There was one surprise when I took the new puppy that is around four months old, surprisingly there was no mess in the kennel. A true first when it comes to cleaning!

We did have another new staff member start today so it made all of the usual "chores" that much easier. I just hope it works out this time because for some reason this job has a high turnover rate. I wonder if it is the pay or the actual amount of physical labor that is involved. If you come into this work looking for a paycheck you are in the wrong business. If you come into it and you don't absolutely love animals, once again, you are in the wrong business.

Of course, Monday wouldn't be a Monday without the task of poop buckets. Luckily there were three of us to take care of it so it took no time at all. That doesn't mean it smells any better than usual. Once we got all 15 garbage bags and suited up with the rubber gloves we made our way down to the yards and proceeded to scoop and replace all of the bags. I kind of felt bad for the new girl but I guess it's trial by fire here at the shelter.

Once all of that was done it was time to get the West side kennels set up for the TWELVE new arrivals that were coming in from another shelter. Usually there is a max of ten so this was quite a surprise when we learned so many were coming in. When they did make it in it was no surprise that everyone of them was a cutie. There weren't any large dogs but all right around ten to twenty pounds. They all seemed very adoptable but one in particular caught my attention. He is a little guy that looks like an ewok crossed with a griffon. It wasn't because he was cute that I was interested as more of the fact that he had the most annoying bark I have ever heard, and I am not exaggerating. Our behaviorist said that one is the devil for the simple fact that the two hour car ride she just got back from the little dog didn't stop barking once. Here is a picture of the little guy, don't let his cuteness fool you.

In this batch there were also four puppies that seemed like they would find new homes very quickly. One really caught my eye and I know as soon as they become available they will not be here for very long. Here is a pic of my favorite one, I think he is some sort of shepherd mix, but you can never be sure.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful with no adoptions by the time that I had left. We did however get a call about a dog that had been adopted from us about nine years ago. It turns out she has bitten two children and barely broke skin once. Because of this though the family is going to return her. Not sure what we can do but evaluate her and keep her on bite quarantine. I won't go into the depressing possibility but I'm sure you have a pretty good idea of what could happen to this dog. I'll keep you updated.

I almost forgot. We did have a couple come in to take a look at our sweet Liza, the coonhound that is slowly starting to come out of her shell. Of course though it's tough to explain to people that we will have to take them to our volunteer foster's house to do the showing since she is there permanently until she gets adopted. I'll let you know what happens as I find out. Thanks for reading everyone and keep the comments coming. Also, if you are on facebook I would love to have you following me. Just click the networked blogs banner on the left to follow. Thanks again!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not the way I like to start my day

I began my day at 9:30 today. A nice way to sleep in but usually makes for a slow day. Anyways, I strolled into the cattery to start cleaning. I finished up a few cats when I noticed another staff member who started with dogs come in to help out. Immediately she noticed that Beauty, a six year old cat that came our way via bag dropped off next to the shelter, was very lethargic. She felt her gums and knew that it wasn't good. She dropped what she was doing and took her to the vets office since it was an off day for our medical staff. Well, we got a call and it turns out that Beauty was in the midst of heart failure. We all knew she had a heart murmur but had no idea the seriousness of it was. Unfortunately it wasn't treatable and they had to put her down. Really not the way I like to start my day. I felt so horrible for this poor cat that literally was left in a bag next to the shelter because our waiting list for relinquishments is so long. I wish she could have had a better life than was given to her but at least I know now that she is no longer suffering.

Of course now I have to put a smile on my face and pretend nothing is wrong and try to get some animals adopted. Funny thing was though for the first two hours we were open my radio didn't work and I was so busy doing the laundry and other work that I didn't even do one showing. It was kind of nice to go off in my own little world though. All I tried to think about was the animals that got to go home on my days off. The two long termers Jack and Sweetie and of course I have to mention Sprocket who ended up getting adopted by the woman I did the showing with last week. These are the things that no matter how down you are can really put a smile on your face.

Once I was finally called out for not having a radio that worked I immediately got a showing, or rather a denial. The profile was for a kitten showing but the potential adopter wanted it to be an indoor outdoor cat. I even asked to make sure that was what she was looking for and it was. Because of this it is an automatic denial because we feel that the kittens cannot protect themselves outdoors yet and feel that they will have a better chance being indoor kitties first. I have to say the woman was a little irate and tried pretty much everything in the book but in the end she walked away, I think, a little more educated on the subject.

After my showing I learned that our resident hoarder, I mean rescuer, brought in five dogs for us to take in. Of course after evaluating them we only took three but the ones we took seemed very adoptable and even more cute. Not sure how socialized they are but hopefully they will adjust quickly to the shelter and when they become available for adoption they will find homes as soon as possible. Here is a picture of one of the dogs, a puppy with about ten different mixes that I will have to do some research on in order to remember them. Of the other two dogs, one is a dachshund and the other a shepherd mix. I think they will be available in less than a week, and a good thing because we are already getting inquiries about them.

I had two more showings, one that wanted to Shaq, an older dog that is truly a good companion. Unfortunately he is also very prey driven and the potential adopter has a cat at home. Hopefully we can find a right match because I know whichever animal we send home they are going to have a wonderful life. My last showing was with Wendy, our doberman/weimeriner mix. She is a beautiful animal but a spazz to say the least. She has gotten a lot better but still is going to need a very patient home. The showing went well but of course she got her hound deafness going and ignored everything we said to her. The woman was still interested so we did the interaction with her black lab who she said was pretty fickle when it came to other dogs. After about 15 minutes in the showing her dog finally opened up and it was on from there. Both dogs were running around at full speed chasing after each other and play bowing when they could. It was great to see two dogs get along so well. The woman liked what she saw but the rest of the family needs to meet as well. Hopefully they can find the time and take this wonderful animal home.

After a rough start I was able to bury myself in busy work to take my mind off of things. I know tonight though that the majority of what I will think about is how that poor cat spent the remaining months of its life. I can be forgiving to the individual that left her at the shelter because they might not have had any other choice but that still doesn't make me angry.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Staying late for a good reason



As usual, the day begins with a barrage of cleaning and of course a little bit of sneezing. I started with the cats and luckily we had a solid crew today so it was nice to have so many people helping out. Once the cats were taken care of I moved on to the rabbits where I soon realized that I still have a bit of an allergy for the little guys. After a few sneezes an a lot of tissue they got taken care of as well.

Without even noticing it though it was already eleven and the doors were open. It's always tough to tactically take out a wagon full of trash and poo while there are customers walking around looking at the dogs. Either way, the quicker you move the less you will effect their morning. With all of the morning chores done I finally had some time to spend with the animals. It has been quite a while since I was able to sit down with a dog and really spend some quality time with them.

I decided to sit with Beatrice, a shepherd mix that can be a bit of a spaz while in her kennel but once she calms down is truly an amazing animal. I sat with her in her kennel and she eventually just laid down next to me with her head in my lap and did not want me to stop petting her. Every once in a while she would hear a noise, get up to investigate and once she knew everything was good she would return for the pet session. I have to say it was relaxing to be able to do this for both me and the dog. Hopefully we will be full staffed again so we can have a little more time with the animals rather than being so stretched thin.

There were a few showings going on but no adoptions. I did have a truly quality introduction with Sprocket, our resident goofy boxer that seemed to go pretty well though. The family that came to see him actually have a female boxer at home along with two cats which to say the least made us think that this probably won't work. I went into it open minded though and once they met our little man they fell in love. In order to make it work though we still had to cat test him as well as introducing Sprocket to their boxer. The cat test was unlike anything I have ever seen before, not only was Sprocket not aggressive, he immediately went into a play bow. The really good part was he lost interest very quickly so as far as cats goes, he is good to go. Now on to the intro with their dog. Initially it was a little sketchy with their boxer growling Sprocket off. After we ran with them to get some smells in the air though they went ahead an "shook hands" and from there we decided to put them down in a yard. It was boxer heaven after that! The two were running around like maniacs and taking direction well from each other. Now all we have to do is get dad on board and the adoption is a go. Hopefully they will be back soon with the rest of the family and Sprocket can go to his forever home.

Now what would surgery day be without a picture. After the little guys get out of medical they typically are pretty doped up and usually have some pretty cute expressions on their faces. Today was no different, here is a picture of a cute little poodle that just wanted some comforting after his surgery. No matter how many times I see those eyes I just want to curl up next to them and keep them company.

Oh, I can't for get the picture up top as well. If you read earlier this week I talked about Mr. Burns and his overbite. Well ladies and gentlemen, there it is. You can actually see the roof of his mouth while it is closed. If that isn't one of the cutest things you've ever seen I don't know what is.

Back to the title of this blog. Late in the day our front office staff told me that we had gotten a call about Jack and Sweetie, our extremely long term bonded pair. She said he was heading here from quite a distance away and didn't know if he could make it in time. I said for these two it doesn't matter how late. Luckily though he made it well before closing and filled out an application for the pair. Everything seemed good except that he would be gone for most of the day during the week. Unfortunately these little guys were returned because separation anxiety after only five days of being adopted. I explained how they could become destructive and basically laid it all on the table. It's better to disclose everything than send these animals home just to get returned. Anyways, back to the story, he absolutely fell in love with the pair and said that he had been looking for an older bonded pair since March when his pooch went over the rainbow bridge. Even with the issues these dogs had he was ready to adopt. Luckily he has dealt with the problem before and also has a doggy door that will give them free access in and out of the home at their desire. In addition to that he is going to wait to take them home until Friday when he can have the entire weekend to get them adjusted to their new home and work on their issues a little before he heads back to work.

Before I knew it I looked at my watch and it was already well past closing time. I have to say I am thankful for the front desks help and dedication in staying late as well because they are just as happy to see this pair adopted as anyone else. Just cross your fingers and hope it works out because these dogs are amazing animals and they deserve only the best.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What a day!

You know the feeling when you just know something isn't quite right? Today I had that feeling as I walked into work, saw no other cars, and had the maintenance man come up to me to say there was a loose dog in the shelter that he was unable to catch. Of course there wasn't anyone else here, all the doors were locked, and my keys were in my box. Luckily I was able to go around back to enter the kennels when I noticed Binkie, our resident bite quarantine dog running around.

When I walked in I could hear all of the dogs in the shelter barking in unison when Binkie saw me. She hesitated a minute then immediately ran up to me and waited for some pets and rubs. Thank goodness she recognized me because it would have been pretty tough to get the situation under control if she hadn't. I played with her for a minute and then simply walked back to ISO where she followed me. I got her into one of the yards and then noticed how she actually got out of her kennel. We're not sure if she saw something and got freaked out or being in ISO had its tole on her but the gate to the kennel was actually bent to the point the the gate opened. Now mind you, this is not that big of a dog so I might have to call "Unsolved Mysteries" to find out exactly what happened because I really can't figure this one out. Along with the bent gate I also noticed that the wooden gate going down to the runs was torn up as well. An entire plank of wood had been chewed up and was laying in splinters. Amazingly enough our vet staff examined Binkie and found nothing wrong with her mouth or any other part of her body. Once again, I might have to think about this one for a while to imagine what could have gone on last night.

Once I got the Binkie situation under control I noticed a few small piles of poop near our volunteer office. Definitely too small to be from Binkie so I went to check out Mr. Burns' kennel and sure enough he was no where to be found. Since I didn't close last night I was unsure of what could have happened to him so I had to wait until another staff member showed up to open up the office. To both of our surprise there he was with free range to everything. It turns out our I.T. guy had found him running around early morning and had put him in the office since he didn't have keys to the kennels. Later we found out that the little guy can actually squeeze through about a four inch gap between the gate and the wall of his kennel. Luckily we have dealt with this before and were able to zip tie some gates to Mr. Burn proof the kennel. Here is a picture of the little guy so you can know who I am talking about. His overbite is so big that if you look at him from below you can actually see the roof of his mouth while it is closed!

After all of the excitement it was on with the rest of the day. I have to be honest with you, it was kind of a blurr from the get go since we were two staff members short and all of the morning cleaning didn't get done until about noon. Luckily the staff that was here worked very well together and was able to keep everything under control. Mind you it was a little hectic at times but it makes for one quick day.

Personally I only had two showings, one of which was kind of a denial because the adopter was looking at one of our spastic kittens and had a two year old at home so we thought it wouldn't be a good fit. She was understanding and would check back to see if there would be a good fit later on. My other showing was a little sketchy from the beginning since on their profile they had three dogs and two cats and one of the dogs wasn't neutered. Since it is our policy not to adopt to those homes I was hesitant to take it. Surprise to me it turns out the dog is actually a sheriff K-9 unit animal and that is the only reason he is unaltered. Goes to show you can never go into a showing with a closed mind. If I had simply looked at the profile without asking any questions I would have surely denied the couple when in reality they are a wonderful home for any animal and they truly believe in the mission to control the pet population. Unfortunately the animal they were looking at just wasn't that perfect fit but they too will check back to see if there are any more that might be "the one".

During all of the ruckus of the kennel staff running around there was one adoption. It was a little chihuahua/Italian greyhound mix and apparently it is the perfect home. I really never got to spend to much time with the sweetie but from what I saw I am not surprised she is going home. Even with all the craziness of today the thing that I will take home with me is knowing that a great animal was able to find a home today.

Jumping subjects here, I have to mention one of our little bunnies Sam. He is probably the sweetest guy we have here but is pretty much un-adoptable because his teeth have to be trimmed about every two months. It might not seem like a big deal but in reality it runs about 500 dollars each time. We have tried everything to curtail the problem but it just isn't feasible that we could adopt him out with this problem. Luckily though there is a great bunny network out here and our rabbit guru was able to find him a sanctuary where he can live out the rest of his life. The sanctuary actually is a woman who takes them into her home and luckily for Sam she also works for the premiere rabbit doctor in the county who will be able to curtail his tooth problem. I'm sorry to see him go but at the same time glad to see he has a good home now.

On a closing note, we were able to pair up two dogs that seemed like they wouldn't get along with anyone. It's always those that you least expect that will end of becoming buddies. Both the dogs, Andy and Beatrice, have been know to be a little pushy and spastic but when we decided to try them out together it seemed it was a match made in heaven. I know that sounds pretty corny but if you could see them together you would understand. Here is a picture to give you an idea of what we saw. Thanks for reading everyone and I look forward to your comments and your suggestions.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Getting down to business

I have to say, it's pretty nice coming in early, getting down to business and watching the day fly by. Now, there are days that take forever and those, like today, that one minute you get there and the next you leave. It wasn't that we were so busy but there always seemed to be something to do. Of course we were short handed again but hopefully that will change soon. But in all honesty I kind of like being able to stay busy with the extra work.

Once I got all of the kennels cleaned and my pants dried off from the leaky hose I brought the south side dogs up from their break yards. Believe it or not I think you actually spend more time bringing the dogs back and forth to the yards than you actually spend cleaning. There wasn't a minute to waste once the dogs were eating their breakfast because being short handed I had to take care of the ISO dog as well as the rabbits. Before you knew it the shelter was open for business.

We were able to take care of the washing the dishes, piling the trash on top of more trash with a full dumpster, and of course work on the laundry. When it comes to the laundry though you can count on something taking a little longer than it should. For one thing every time you do a load in the washer you have to re set the machine by switching the breaker off and then on again. Then of course there is the always fickle dryer which tends to overheat. Today it over heated but luckily you could just hit the easily accessible re set button rather than climbing into the lint trap to find the other.

After a quick break and of course a Popsicle it was time to recruit as many people as possible for the weekly duty of the dreaded poop buckets. Last week it was just me so I wanted to make sure we had a few more hands on the task to knock it out quicker. Luckily there was three of us that attacked the job and after a few gnarly whiffs and a little gagging the job was done for yet another week.

On to the showings! My first showing was with Benjamin, a sweet puppy with too many mixes to name here. He's a special guy that has been in the shelter for several weeks now because he has needed to find the right family to go home to. It's funny because yesterday there was that perfect family but they wanted to sleep on it and of course when it rains it pours and another couple came in and absolutely fell in love with the little guy. They were a younger couple but worked opposite shifts so the pup wouldn't be left alone for hours on end. They also would have a room dedicated to him rather than keeping him in a kennel. Overall I can feel pretty confident knowing that Ben is going to have a very comfortable lifestyle and a family that will surely love him.

Of course as they are adopting him the other family from yesterday has come back to adopt him. I'm glad they had a good attitude about it and instead of complaining that they didn't get him they decided to take a look at another dog at the shelter named Mr. Burns. Now if you know anything about the Simpsons you can imagine what this guy looks like. He is a chihuahua mix but his colors are actually more blue than anything else. He also has some major light sensitivity and tends to squint when he isn't in th shade. Oh, and did I mention that I have never seen a bigger overbite in my life? If he looks up you can actually see the roof of his mouth when it is closed! I have to say that it really does give him character because he is the sweetest little guy I think we have right now. The couple fell in love but like any big decision in life they wanted to think about it. They did however ask if they could possible adopt over the phone if they made their decision just to avoid the situation they had today with Ben. Hopefully it works out because the family is sure to give any animal they adopt a great home.

There were a few other interesting moments in the day. Once being that I was asked to see if I could locate a dead squirrel that couldn't be found out by our main gait. I obliged hesitantly and was able to find the poor guy rather quickly. Luckily he had been there a while so it wasn't anything to bad. Luckily it was right next to the garbage too so no one had to see me walking with a back as far away from my nose as possible.

Closing on a good note the shelter received a letter from some adopters who had taken home Libby, a wonderful cat that was going on six months in the shelter. It was great to hear how well she adapted and how appreciative the family was for what we do at the shelter. Once again, I know we don't get paid much but the overall good feelings that can come from the work we do is amazing. I'll see if I can get a copy of the letter just to pull some quotes because I always like giving myself a nice pat on the back.

An update on my little guy who had all of the dental work done. He is doing great, he seems to be a lot happier than he was before the surgery and he already keeps on trying to eat dry food. He is a little funny looking with a few teeth missing but I think it just gives him more character. Thanks for reading everyone and I look forward to your comments.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I wonder what's changed since I've been off


It's generally a given when I come back from my days off that there are usually a few changes that I have to adjust to as soon as I walk through the door. Usually dogs have been moved around or there are a whole bunch of new dogs you have to get used to, but today there really wasn't much to my surprise. I couldn't even believe it but there wasn't a huge number of adoptions either. Now I don't want to seem like a total pessimist because some great animals did get adopted including the little poodle mix I wrote of last week that had the heart murmur. Turns out the family came back and did the intro with their animals and it was a perfect fit.

Back to today, I have found that I usually am one of two ways when starting my week. I can either be a complete optimist and motivated or the complete opposite when I actually see how much work has gotten done in the past few days. Well, lets just say my day didn't start as planned. I won't go into to much detail but when all of the garbage doesn't get taken out you know that there is a problem. I try to not let it get to me but when it happens on many occasions it tends to linger in my head the rest of the day which is not a good thing. Anyways, got all of the cleaning done and thankfully we had another staff member come in on her own time to help out with meds otherwise we would have been in a sticky situation because once again we were short handed.

Initially I thought today would be a bit slower than expected just from the amount of adoptions I had seen on the website from the past few days. Yes, I check the website everyday to see if any of the animals have gotten adopted, I know, a little too involved but I can't help it. Of course as soon as I thought we would be slow the showings started coming in. I have to mention that I was happy to see our behavior therapist back from vacation helping out because we really needed it today.

Not sure how many showings past until I grabbed one but my first was with a cat. Typically cat showings are a lot easier than dogs just because there are fewer factors to contend with when adopting out the feline friends. Your biggest concerns are dealing with de-clawing, an immediate disqualification if they would want to do it and also whether or not they would keep the animal inside at all times or let it run outside. Now these aren't necessarily going to keep us from adopting to an individual, it just narrows down who we can adopt out. Anyways, back to my showing. It was with Sumo our giant sized kitty that you can guess really tops the scales. If you have read in a past blog I talked about how he was relinquished because his family wasn't home enough to monitor and deal with the problem of the heavy guy bullying their other cat and stealing all of her food. This is the main reason that the guy is still here. Well, a potential adopted was not deterred by all of my negativity and still wanted to see him. It turns out she absolutely loved him and wanted to adopt. I do have to mention that I have been in showings lasting upwards of an hour but this entire experience with Sumo was the grand total of ten minutes. Like I said before, cat showings tend to be a little less complicated than dogs.

That was really the highlight of my day. There were a two more dog adoptions which I was glad to hear and of course I forgot to mention that our little Dachshund puppy went home as well. I only had one more showing with a very sweet family that was looking at a small dog named Mr. Burns. Unfortunately we're not going to send him home with small children because of his unpredictability and his timidness towards new people. I did offer up a few more dogs but not seemed to be that right match when I was showing them. The good part was they were in no rush and wanted to find that perfect dog and were willing to wait. They said they will check back to see if there dog has arrived soon.

Asside from me being a little bitter at the beginning of my day for haveing to clean up after others the day went pretty well. It was nice to see so many faces in the shelter looking to give these animals a second chance. We might not have had a record day of adoptions but even if there is one I am a happy camper. Thanks for reading everyone and I look forward to your comments. Oh yeah, the picture of top is with Jerr Bear, one of our dogs that got returned because he started going after some cats. I just had to show him laying down with his "wings".

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Not really focused today


One of the many benefits of working at an animal shelter is the amazing veterinary care that you can get for your animals. Today I was lucky enough to squeeze in my dog for his dental. I have a smaller breed dog that typically has some dental problems so I knew that the process was coming. I am just thankful the medical staff was able to get my guy in today. Because the animal has to be anesthetized I was a little nervous today and tended not to think about anything but my sweet little guy.

Pretty much all day I would go in and check on my dog who's teeth ended up being a little worse than expected. Because of his age and the health risks that are associated with dental problems it was decided that there was a need for a few extractions. The good news was that his blood work came back perfect. The bad news was that my little guy was in so much pain when he was awaken I had a few tears in my eyes. Everyone that has a pet knows that they are part of the family and seeing him in pain was tough to bare. I know that it was for the best but I feel horrible that he had to go through it. I do have to say that the medical staff was amazing with him and it was nice that I was able to go in and actually see the process and know that he was being well taken care of.

I'm not going to lie, I really kind of forgot everything else that went on today because of my concern for my little man. I do recall, sort of, cleaning a lot and washing some windows. I did do a showing with a little poodle mix that has a heart murmur. The family was a little skeptical because they had adopted an animal about four months ago that ended up having a heart attack two weeks ago. I was surprised that they were still interested in Sweet Potato but they ended up having their veterinarian come up to the shelter to examine her. Hopefully it works out because I think the family would provide a wonderful home to our little girl.

The day came to a close and as I was helping bring all of the dogs back up from their last break there was a call over the radio for a kitten showing. I had assumed that someone had gotten it because there was no profile in the box. Of course I didn't think to look at the box next to it. The poor people had to wait for a good fifteen minutes but they were completely understanding. They ended up loving the little kitten and adopting her. It was tough though because the front desk not only had to process the adoption but a woman that had relinquished four kittens earlier in the week decided that she wanted them back. Of course they had just been through surgery to be spayed and neutered. I hope that we charged them some sort of fee because if they got away with an expensive surgery on us that is just wrong. Anyways, it was a hectic closing but I am glad that a little kitten got to go to a great home. And if you didn't already notice, that was a picture of my little son after his surgery, don't you just feel horrible for the little guy?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A little bit of everything today

Getting to work at eight is a pretty nice thing when you know that your are leaving at 4:30. The day really seems to fly by when you are the early shift. Well, I guess it means that you are just always busy with something to do. Today was pretty much routine in that there was a whole lot of cleaning with a few dogs scheduled to come in today from a county shelter. What that means is that we have to rearrange a few dogs as well as sanitize the kennels that they were in. Also it meant that we have to sanitize the yards that the dogs use for their breaks. All in all it seems like a lot but because we were finally fully staffed today it seemed like there wasn't enough work to go around.

To give you an idea about what sanitizing the kennels entails it is pretty simple. You basically spray the entire thing down from top to bottom with a sanitizing agent. After about five minutes of letting it sit you have to scrub the thing until every little bit of anything is off, including the mounds of bird poop that can accumulate. Once that is done and you feel like you have just gone to a one on one workout with a drill instructor you rinse everything down then spray with a bleach solution. You then wait five or so minutes, rinse and you have now disinfected a kennel. It's really not that bad and I usually tend to enjoy it since I have my headphones in and try working on certain muscles while I am scrubbing.

With time to spare I headed over to the fake grass yards that needed to be sprayed down with the same bleach solution I used earlier. This would have been a lot easier if the nozzle had actually fit the hose I was using. Unfortunately though as soon as I turned on the water I was dowsed with a continuous spray of water that got me pretty much from head to toe. All I have to say is because of the water it made me finish up this task as quickly as possible.

Once all of the cleaning was out of the way it was to my surprise that we already had some showings as soon as the doors opened. Of course the showing that I got was kind of thrown on me because the potential adopter rubbed a few people the wrong way. I have to say it wasn't too bad but it certainly tested my patience. The woman initially wanted to look at three dogs but because she has a few cats it narrowed her search to just one dog. A sweet ten year old poodle that she absolutely fell in love with. She spent quite a bit of time with him and asked all the right questions. The little guy does have a few health issues but nothing serious and also needs a dental before he can go home but other than that he is a vivacious happy little guy. The only thing that needs to be taken care of now is the woman needs to bring in her dog to meet and make sure that it is a perfect fit for everyone. I'm crossing my fingers that she finds the time to return because this little guy has had a tough life and needs to be pampered.

I had one more "quasi" showing with the little dachshund puppy that I had a picture of yesterday. Because he isn't available yet we basically take applications on him to either qualify or disqualify potential adopters. This way it saves everyone time and effort when the dog does become available after medical and behavioral evaluations. The application that I had seemed like a good fit so my suggestion to the woman was to call back frequently to see exactly when the sweet little guy will be available. I know one thing for sure, as soon as Saturday rolls around and this guy becomes available he will be adopted very quickly.

The rest of the day was pretty routine. We got in a total of four dogs from another shelter and they seemed pretty much the norm ranging from chihuahuas to poodles. Other than the fact that they are extremely cute I don't know much about them yet. As soon as I get an update I will let everyone know.

The day came to an end with me taking out dogs for their afternoon break. We have a full house so it was tough to organize the space we had in the yards. We did however pair up our old yellow lab Eliza with a rambunctious little puppy named Benjamin and it ended up great. They ran around like they were both puppies and flopped down when they were done. It was good to find the little guy a mentor that can show him the ropes since he has been in ISO for the past week with kennel cough. It's also nice that we can put them together and save a little room in the yards for other dogs that don't necessarily get along with other dogs. Anyways, here is a picture of the two after a hard core play session.

That's about it for today. I hope to give everyone an update on my favorite foster dog Liza because from what I hear her foster mom is doing a great job and she is slowly but surely coming out of her shell. Cross your fingers and hope for her the best. Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It's interesting when you come back from three days off.

I know, I know, I skipped out on a blog last week about compassion fatigue and what not but with company in town it was tough to find the motivation to write about all the stress that one can endure while working at a shelter. At least the guy said it was a good thing to keep this blog just to get my thoughts down on paper so to speak. I'll go into details about the class later on when I feel that it comes up again in work. Otherwise I am going to write today about being gone for three days and the changes that took place while I was out relaxing with family not even keeping my telephone on.

Of course I am the type of person that checks the shelter's web site while I am away so I can keep updated on what animals have been adopted so I knew a few that I had done showings with last week had a good chance of going home on Saturday. I was right, when I returned I learned that at least two of the dogs that I was hoping would get adopted because the families were good fits did. Apparently there was a little confusion with one of the adopters who was looking at Papi because they assumed they only needed a rental agreement that said pets weren't allowed. It turns out everything worked out because the counselor got a hold of the land lord and confirmed the dog was OK and he got to go home that afternoon.

The big news for adoptions this weekend was Sandra Dee, a wonderful staff favorite that had been in the shelter going on four months. It turns out a family had been keeping their eye on her and once they came in for the interact they were hooked. The family even wrote a letter to the shelter the next day saying how much they appreciated her and how wonderful she is. I did see a few tears coming down for finally finding this wonderful dog their forever home and it surely put a smile on my face when I learned the news.

Of course with the good comes a little bad, Jerry, a black lab that had been adopted some time back was returned because he apparently was chasing the owners cats. Not sure about the whole story but it sure is hard to see this eight year old guy back in the shelter. Hopefully our "senior" promotion with half off adoption fees for animals over five will give some motivations for a possible forever home. Keep your fingers crossed.

So on to my day, it started pretty normal with lots of cleaning and since it was Monday clearing out all of the yards and buckets of poop. I think we skipped last week because we were so short staffed just because of the sheer weight of these bags. I think total it had to be around eighty pounds. At least I got my workout in I guess.

Once all of the cleaning and chores were done I saw that there was a new relinquishment. It was a 14 week old Dachshund puppy that might have weighed four pounds and had this cute little one blue eye. He was so cute all you wanted to do was hang out with the little guy all day long. The reason he was here was that his owner's wife became gravely ill and he felt that it was just too tough to raise a puppy at this time. In any case I don't think the little guy will be here too long once he is available, take a look for yourself and see how cute this guy really is.

The rest of the day was pretty routine. I had a few showings and one turned out to be pretty interesting. The woman had initially come just to look at cats but saw Lucy, our pit/boxer mix and had to meet her. Unfortunately the potential adopter had an invisible fence and because of our policies we tend to steer away from those. The woman was a little annoyed but I hopefully explained our stance as well as possible saying that it might keep the dog in but that doesn't mean that it keeps other animals out. In any case, she was still a perfect home for any of our cats and she decided to take a look at the kittens. She immediately fell for a sweet girl from the "H" litter and decided to adopt. She was very happy with her decision and was not resentful at all for not being able to see the dog. It was good to find her the right pet and see that she was happy with the outcome as well.

I have to say that it is good to step away from work sometimes just to give yourself a break. I can name a hundred things that are good about this job but after my "compassion fatigue" training I can say that I am glad I can typically leave this work behind when I go home. No emails to be filed to phone calls to be returned; just an occasional update on the website to see if anyone has been adopted is all the "at home" work I have. Plus when you see an animal adopted it definitely brightens up my day.
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